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Reminder: Illegal Posting of Campaign Signs

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To our libertarian supporters:

Please remember that everyone must follow Maryland and local laws with respect to posting campaign signs. This is especially important with respect to placing signs on private property without the permission of the owner or on public property (including on public rights of way on streets and highways).

We don’t know who, but someone has been posting Gary Johnson campaign signs on public rights of way in Montgomery County. Such signs can create a traffic hazard as they may interfere with traffic control signs or otherwise distract motorists. While the signs being posted are not the type of signs distributed by the Libertarian Party of Maryland, illegal posting of campaign signs can result in the offender being cited and if found guilty, there can be very substantial fines.

It is great that libertarians want to spread the word in support of Gary’s campaign, but we don’t want any of our supporters to be cited for such violations and we also want to encourage only the lawful posting of campaign signs.

Access to Public Information for Howard County Schools-Request for Information

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The Libertarian Party of Maryland is part of the Maryland Open Government Coalition, a group of organizations that have worked hard to pass sunshine legislation (including the first major amendments to the Maryland Public Information Act in decades), all to increase transparency in government. We can’t argue effectively about the size and scope of government without access to the details of government activities.

One of the bills the coalition helped pass established the office of the Public Access Ombudsman, who is charged with mediating certain disputes involving public information act requests. Subsequently, HB1105 passed last year that focused on the lack of transparency of the Howard County Public Education system and charged the Public Access Ombudsman to investigate problems and make a report. If you or anyone you may know have had problems getting information or documents from any custodian of documents for the Howard County school system, please contact the Public Access Ombudsman before September 30th. See this notice for details on how to contact the Ombudsman: HB1105

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Reminder – Advanced Legislative Advocacy Training in two weeks

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For those interested in helping the party with legislative advocacy, there will be a free training seminar on August 31 from noon until 2:00 for an Advanced Legislative Advocacy training luncheon at EDIT for NEW Location:

Enoch Pratt Library
Light Street Branch
1251 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21230

Please go to the basement meeting room.

The event, hosted by OSI Baltimore and in partnership with the ACLU of Maryland and Common Cause Maryland will focus on legislative advocacy. Whether you are just getting started or an experienced advocate looking to brush up on the basics, we hope you’ll find the training helpful. Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, creator of the webinar “Lobby Like a Pro” and executive director of Common Cause Maryland will be leading the training.

Among other topics, Ms. Bevan-Dangel will discuss the legislative process, bill tracking, and best practices for effective advocacy. This is a great opportunity for everyone regardless of your level of experience.

Lunch will be provided and space is limited so please RSVP to Keith Wallington at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Maryland General Assembly Opens 2016 Session

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Today, the Maryland General Assembly opens its 2016 session. The Libertarian Party of Maryland will be engaged in advocacy for and against legislation offered by the legacy parties. While we continue to win on many issues, we could do so much more if we had elected Libertarians who could sponsor bills and participate directly in the legislative process. Consider running for office as a Libertarian. For everyone else–vote Libertarian!

We will return for a third try with a ballot-access bill that would all but guaranty our continued party status and remove almost all risk of us having to petition. The bill replaces one of the standards for continuing to be recognized as a political party, changing the 1% of registered voters with a flat 10,000 registered voters (affiliated with the party). We have 16,843 registered Libertarians as of the end of 2015 and continue to be the fastest growing party in Maryland. We are qualified through 2016 because Shawn Quinn received over 1% of the vote in the 2014 Governor’s race. One method of re-qualifying after 2016 is if our presidential nominee receives over 1% in November. However, the alternative standard is reaching 1% of the total registered voters (approximately 38,000). If we failed to qualify via vote totals, we’d need 10,000 registered voters (regardless of party) to sign a petition, which because of validity rates, really means getting about 16,000 to 17,000 signatures The legislation proposes 10,000 registered voters to replace the 1% of registered-voters standard, because it matches the 10,000 petition signature requirement. If the purpose of petitioning is to measure a minimum level of support for the party in Maryland, affiliated voters is a much better measurement of that support than 10,000 petition signatures.

With the opening of the session, the legislature will consider any veto overrides. The Libertarian Party of Maryland urges the legislature to override the Governor’s veto of the marijuana decriminalization fix bill SB571, which decriminalized marijuana paraphernalia. We also urge the legislature to override the veto of the civil asset forfeiture bill SB578. Although SB578 provided only some relief to fix Maryland’s unjust system of civil asset forfeiture, it was at least progress.

We will continue our support for marijuana legalization, as well as support the Death with Dignity Act. We will be advocating for SWAT team reform and better transparency on the purchase of military grade equipment by police officers under the federal surplus equipment program. We will continue our advocacy of transparency and accountability with the Marylanders for Open Government Coalition. We will focus on the police body camera legislation, due to its important balance between protecting privacy interests and providing the greatly needed increase in public accountability of police activities.

Of the pre-filed bills, SB13 creates a reporting requirement for some military grade equipment purchases by police departments. Automatic universal voter registration is being considered in two bills. We must try to defeat the attack on Uber and other ride-sharing services included in SB54 (cross-filed as HB3).

As more bills are filed, we’ll provide a more comprehensive update on the pending legislation and committee schedules and give action alerts on what you can do to help. We hope any and all who care about libertarian issues will help us advocate for and against the legislation in the 2016 session. Let the games begin!

2015 LPofMD Holiday Party

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The annual holiday party of the Libertarian Party of Maryland will be held on Saturday, December 5th, from 6:30 to 9 pm. It is open to the public. Please join us!
The party will be held at Stu Simms house at  11614 Arden Court, Laurel, MD 20723. The event is pot luck, so please bring a fresh food item. Juice, soda, and water will be provided. BYOB.
In addition, there will be a special meeting of the state party Central Committee for the purpose of nominating candidates only.
As a courtesy, please RSVP to Stu at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Scheduling Change: Delegate Robin Grammer

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grammer01UPDATED: The date for this event has changed from 7/29 to August 6, 2015 at 7:00. Please mark your calendar.

Robin Grammer, a member of the state House of Delegates in the 6th legislative district (SE Baltimore County), will meet and address members of the Maryland Libertarian Party on Thursday, August 6th, 7 p.m., at the North Point branch of the Baltimore County library, 1716 Merritt Boulevard, Dundalk, MD 21222. This event is open to the public.

Here is a map of the location.

The program will begin promptly at 7 as we must end by 8:30 p.m.

Robert Sarvis at the 2015 LPMaryland Convention

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In case you missed it, or in case you just want to see it again, we have audio and video of Virginia Libertarian Robert Sarvis’s speech to the LPMaryland Central Committee at the 2015 convention on March 14.  The audio was recorded by our omnicompetent and ultra-reliable secretary, Robert Glaser, who caught the entire speech.  The video, I’m sorry to say, was recorded by an idiot (possibly also your webmaster and the author of this post) who forgot to turn on the shotgun microphone for the first fifteen minutes or so.